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Swallow Hard — Make It Happen — Or Get Out

For the most part, it’s human nature to have a love/hate relationship with the results that have our name attached to them. I’ve failed far more often than I’ve succeeded. It’s not even close. Name a category in which I’ve endured the ignominy of defeat, and my hand is more likely than not be in the air.

Baseball is useful here, as it’s a game based on failure. Hall of Famers are players who failed somewhat less than their peers. Major leaguer hitters as a group, fail at a rate of roughly 75%. Those who fail a ‘mere’ 65-70% of the time often end up earning $1 Mil a month or so. Think that’s a thin margin separating average from excellent? Try this — The difference between a .250 and a .300 hitter? One measly hit a week. Really.

Ponder this.

In San Diego’s market, one extra skinned cat monthly at the median price, about $375,000 or so, would create additional GCI of — wait for it — $135,000. Median price in your market is $150,000? That’s an additional $54,000 or so. One more deal a month. Would that make the difference for your family? Would those results keep you in the business? Would you then stop making pathetic excuses for your failure to do what produces spendable results?

If you can honestly say that’s within your reach by quietly tweakin’ your effort a bit, super. Do it now. I’ll expect a Christmas card next year.

However, if you’re already killin’ yourself 25 hours a day, eight days a week, you may wanna consider doin’ something different so as to generate better results. How’s that for an original thought? Explaining an anemic bank account to those counting on you at home is not a Kodak moment, a truth to which I can effectively testify.

It was one of those moments when the phrase, ‘Winners don’t make excuses, they make it happen’ became real to me.

Adapting is really code tellin’ us to stop doin’ what ain’t workin’ and start doin’ things that do. Again — there are those who tell us why their failure is reasonable, and those who simply don’t accept failure. The latter keep changing what they do until their results become what they want them to be.

The ability to adapt is THE overriding factor in the longterm success of a real estate agent, and it’s never been truer than it is today.

Results don’t lie — they’re always exactly what they are — no more, no less. If what you’re doing is delivering better results than before, but still aren’t eliminating sleepless nights, you need to keep movin’ up on the adaptation scale. The not so funny thing, is that the average agent out there who is struggling to survive, knows exactly what needs to be changed. Yet they don’t, or more accurately, won’t change their M.O. I’ve never understood it, even though I plead guilty to it a couple times.

Pick a decade, any decade.

I’ve lived through every single day in the real estate biz in the decades of the 70′s, 80′s, 90′s, and 00′s. They had one thing in common as far as real estate agents go — and that is, real estate agents go — as in, away. In droves. Good times or bad, they simply disappear. Most of the time it’s not only without fanfare, but more like now ya see ‘em, now ya don’t. One day you wave good-bye as they’re leaving the office, never realizing it’s literally for the last time.

They either didn’t know, or refused to acknowledge their need to adapt and keep adapting ’till the results were at least satisfactory if not stellar. Frankly, I think most agents throwin’ in the towel these days do so knowing they’d refused to do what it took to flourish. Refused.

I know I’m capable of that stoopid behavior, cuz I’ve seen me do it.

You haven’t changed your M.O. sufficiently if you’re still losin’ sleep. Again, I’ll speak only for myself. Here’s an incomplete list of changes I’ve been forced to make in order to remain in the business, as opposed to handing in a job app to Von’s.

  • FSBOs disappeared, so I became Farmer Brown — knock knock.
  • Switched from homes to investments — a paradigm shift.
  • Spent thousands for education
  • Moved to direct mail.
  • Stopped using direct mail.
  • Abandoned my local real estate market in San Diego. (Scared s***less)
  • Adapted to online realities — started a blog.
  • Began using direct mail again, as snail-mail traffic thinned.
  • There’s been more, much of it ongoing, but you can see I’ve been forced to change my ways so many times, it’s as if I’ve been put on earth to provide the real estate gods with entertainment. Dad began and ended his wildly successful real estate brokerage career doin’ the same things. Freakin’ maddening.

    Good times, bad times, and those rare times in between — adapt or pay the financial price. The question to which I’ve yet to find an answer, is why we so often insist on doing what we know ain’t feedin’ the bulldog. Even worse, we know in our hearts it’s not gonna change tomorrow, next week, or next month.

    Here’s the first change you may wanna consider making, if you’re not earning enough money. Look in the mirror and admit, at least to yourself, that your results are just that — yours. It’s not the local market, the economy, lenders, supply/demand, or any of the other myriad reasons available. Those reasons aren’t stopping the agents who’re flourishing, and they’re not stoppin’ you.

    Second, decide whether or not you’re willing to do what you already know will produce the results required for your financial survival. If you are willing, here’s the next step.

    Swallow hard. Then, either make it happen, or get out.

    That last sentence? Said to me with much enthusiasm as Dad was makin’ fun of me one morning, and I don’t mean fun, as in ‘ha ha’. I’d forgotten how little he cared about why agents fail, and had complained about the severely decreasing number of FSBOs. A month later I swallowed hard, then knocked on my first door.

    Been able to look myself in the mirror ever since.

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  • The Carnival of Real Estate . . .

  • 6 comments

    6 Comments so far

    1. Teri Lussier November 5th, 2010 6:10 pm

      To borrow a BawldGuyism “grinning from ear to ear”.

    2. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Liz Strauss, Janie Coffey  and Jeff Brown, Real Estate Feeds. Real Estate Feeds said: Swallow Hard — Make It Happen — Or Get Out: For the most part, it’s human nature to have a love/hate relationshi… http://bit.ly/bfRgTn [...]

    3. Greg Swann November 5th, 2010 6:51 pm

      Good grief! Would someone please get this man a book contract? This is wisdom that should endure.

    4. Scott Cowan November 7th, 2010 8:50 am

      It always amazes me that the brilliant posts here receive the least amount of comments.

      I am not sure how to comment other than I am looking in the mirror this morning and swallowing hard.

      Thanks Jeff for another swift kick in the butt.

      Greg, I agree 100% with you. A book contract is necessary. Yet, I wonder if anyone who needs to read and learn the lessons would crack the book open?

    5. Jeff Brown November 7th, 2010 8:59 am

      Hey Scott — I appreciate your thoughts very much.

      Comments? Often, I think controversy seems to be a bit more popular. It seems so on most media.

    6. Greg Swann November 7th, 2010 9:17 am

      > Yet, I wonder if anyone who needs to read and learn the lessons would crack the book open?

      Here’s the yin and yang of it: Business books that could make a real difference to people get bought but not read. (Everyone should now look down and blush, me included.) Not great for the buyer, but not awful for the author. And there are always people like you and Teri to make the difference.